It seemed like one of those irregular verbs:
I lose my job
You cock it all up at Lehman Bros
He, the Chief Excutive, panics
I’d only gone into the CE’s office to discuss the communications budget, which evidently couldn’t stretch to communicating to me what was coming my way.
I think I took it pretty well. The CE asked me if I needed to go home and absorb the information, but I declined since the message I’d received seemed pretty clear, and wasn’t going to take a lot of absorbing. I was out on my ear, not he was at pains to re-assure me, because my performance had not been good enough (heaven forfend) but because the business needed to prepare itself for the economic storm that Lehman’s collapse had so dramatically ushered in. Not a great choice, really. Had I been dispensed with for being rubbish at my job, well, at least there’d have been a sense of responsibility for events, however unsavoury. On the other hand, gratifying though it was to know that I hadn’t been rubbish at my job, the arbitrary unfairness of being sacked with no culpability was almost harder to take.
However, I was determined not to be bitter. I could see the economic logic behind the CE’s decision. I was also grateful that he’d owned the decision, and that it had been quick and clean. There’d been no period of anxiety, with my director colleagues all jostling for position, all of us knowing that one of us was going to be for the chop. If the price for this clinical process was the sheer shock of the bolt from the blue, I simply had to accept it as a price worth the paying. I drove off to tell my wife, and I think she was more shocked and distressed than I had been. Back at work, the CE asked me if I’d be able to pen a quick communiqué for the staff. Irony wasn’t the half of it.
When I got home, the dirty dishes looked at me accusingly. I couldn’t help but wryly note that when I’d left them dirty, I still had a job.